Fully Funded PhD Studentship in Systems Biology

British Heart Foundation Fully Funded PhD Studentship in Systems Biology


Dr. Tim Palmer (t.palmer@bio.gla.ac.uk, Integrative and Systems Biology)
Prof. Mark Girolami (girolami@dcs.gla.ac.uk, www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/inference)

Regulation of the immune/inflammatory responses by interleukin-6 (IL-6)-family cytokines is dictated by the interplay of multiple cytokine-activated signalling cascades and inhibitory regulators designed to prevent excessive receptor activation that can result in disease. The situation is further complicated by the observation that cytokine-activated signalling cascades are negatively controlled by distinct signalling modules such as those initiated by the prototypical intracellular messenger cyclic AMP. Despite its significance, the extensive level of cross-talk observed has not been integrated into coherent models of IL-6 receptor signalling and its regulation.

By combining molecular/cell biology with mathematical modelling & statistical inferential approaches, this inter-disciplinary studentship will A) statistically define minimal network structures that accurately describe cytokine signalling pathway kinetics, B) derive a set of plausible mathematical models that can identify the critical parameters controlling inhibitory cross-regulation of gp130 by cyclic AMP, and C) identify new approaches for limiting excessive cytokine signalling associated with inflammatory disorders.

The project provides an exciting opportunity for high-quality doctoral training in mathematical modelling & statistical inferential approaches and their application to increase our understanding of the architecture and dynamics of molecular cell signalling pathways. In addition to contemporary
molecular and cellular biology techniques (mammalian cell culture, RNAi-mediated knockdown, protein analysis), the successful candidate will be trained in mathematical modelling of pathway dynamics as well as Bayesian statistical methods to formally characterize uncertainty in these models.

Candidates should be European Economic Area nationals, have an excellent first degree in a relevant mathematical discipline (Mathematics, Computing Science, Statistics, Engineering, Physics) and be highly motivated in their wish to apply this expertise to biological systems. Candidates with an excellent first degree in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology or a related discipline, coupled with additional experience in applying mathematical/statistical methods to biological systems, will also be considered.

The studentship will commence as soon as possible after a suitable candidate is identified. The studentship will carry a stipend of £16,853 in year 1 and increasing to £18,580 in year 3. The studentship also covers the student¹s university fees. The studentship is renewable, subject to
satisfactory annual progress, for up to a total of three years.

Applications must consist of a current CV, contact details of at least two academic referees, evidence of degree performance, and a completed application form from

Preliminary email enquiries to Tim Palmer or Mark Girolami are welcomed.

Candidates are encouraged to complete the online application, but also to send their CV and associated documents direct to the Graduate School:

Graduate School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Bower Building,
University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: ++44 (0)141-330-5800
Fax: ++44 (0)141-330-6093
E-mail: biograd (a) gla.ac.uk (please type ³BHF Palmer² in the subject box of